Supporting Student Mental Health
Being a teacher today is hard. It is hard in ways it wasn’t a few years go. According to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 70% of parents of children ages 6-17 say they are concerned about their child’s emotional well-being. Passing bullying, this is a significant increase from previous years, reflecting a growing concern among parents about the mental health of their children.
Considering this data, it is imperative for teachers to be proactive in addressing the needs of their students. The increased expectations from parents to have options to support their children’s emotional needs requires teachers to grow their own capacity to field this demand. By being aware of this demand, teachers can take steps in the classroom to help children maintain good mental health through SEL based lessons and promoting positive and safe conversations. Early data suggests even 1 hour a week of SEL based activities can increase the overall well-being of a child. In addition to sanctioned SEL moments, the Search Institute provides guidance on relationship actions that make connecting with children more powerful.
Districts have an opportunity to increase options for children to have access to mental health resources and counseling services. Districts have options with Mental Health clinics to partner and offer services in the school building during the day. A collaborative option to leverage licensed therapy and counselors without forcing more logistics on the parents. With insurance and a potential cost to the parents, this route isn’t as clean, but it is certainly promising.
Nevertheless, the wave of evidence and demand on teachers to address and support the mental health of our children is growing and not going to change. Awareness of resources, curriculum and taking proactive steps to introduce SEL based content into the daily instruction is a critical conversation for us in education. Parent demand for mental health options will only grow and a pivot in priorities for districts can certainly help stem the tide.
Interested in SEL and Mental Health topics? We can help! Reach out to us for information about our SEL Curriculum and Trauma-Informed Behavior Courses. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message here.
Written by Daryl Vavrichek, Success Team, Director, Creatively Focused